Many diseases and medical problems require early detection and treatment to prevent further injury or illness. When you have symptoms or signs of a medical problem, it is in your best interest to see a doctor to get a diagnosis of your symptoms so you can get treatment.
However, if your doctor fails to see the connection between your symptoms and your disease and does not diagnose you correctly or quickly, it can lead to severe medical consequences for you and your family. Delay or failure to diagnose a medical condition can be a form a medical malpractice, and you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.
Physicians have a legal obligation to do their utmost to find the cause of medical problems presented to them by their patient. If you are complaining about chest pains and shortness of breath, they should be ordering the appropriate tests to find the cause. Doctors do make mistakes; some illnesses have similar symptoms, and it is understandable that a misdiagnosis could occur. However, when that misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis causes injury or harm, and the disease should have been detected, it could be a form medical malpractice.
When Does Misdiagnosis Constitute Medical Malpractice?
Not all missed or delayed diagnoses are considered medical malpractice. Even if a doctor reads the test results wrong and misses the diagnosis of an illness, if no harm occurs due to the delay, there is no basis for a case against the doctor. In Louisiana, the laws protecting medical professionals are strict, so there must be a clear case of medical malpractice through a missed or delayed diagnosis that causes harm to the patient. This should include:
- Your physician misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose a condition in a timely manner that most physicians with the same qualifications would catch.
- The delayed diagnosis of your condition caused you or a loved one harm. For example, cancer or other serious disease progressed to a more serious stage due to a delayed diagnosis, causing damage, injury or even death for the patient.
- The harm or injury was directly caused by the mistake in diagnosis by the doctor. If a correct diagnosis had been made, and treatment begun more quickly, you would not have suffered additional injury or harm.
If these three factors are true, you may have a medical malpractice case that can be filed against your doctor or medical practitioner. However, it is very important to seek legal advice quickly in any medical malpractice case in Louisiana. The laws in our state are designed to protect the medical community, and there are time limits on how long after a misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis a medical malpractice case can be filed.
If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed due to a failed or delayed medical diagnosis, please contact our team at Nelson & Hammons. We have over 40 years of experience in protecting the rights of our clients in medical malpractice cases, and we want to hear your story. Call our office in Shreveport at (318) 227-2401, or our Lafayette office at (337) 534-0515, or contact us online, and one of our legal team will be in touch with you soon.